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Student from China Charged $4,240 for O'Hare-to-Champaign Ride

By DNAinfo Staff on August 29, 2013 3:08pm

 O'Hare was the scene of a scam on a college student, police say.
O'Hare was the scene of a scam on a college student, police say.
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Getty Images/Tim Boyle

O'HARE — Police reportedly are investigating a scam in which a University of Illinois student from China was charged more than $4,000 for a ride from O'Hare Airport to Downstate Champaign.

The suspect is a white man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a medium build and light-colored hair, university police told the News-Gazette.

U. of I. police Sgt. Tom Geis told the paper that the 18-year-old Chinese student, who has limited command of English, arrived at O'Hare around 6 p.m. on Aug. 20 and was told by the suspect that a bus to Champaign would not leave until midnight.

The man then offered to drive the student to the university for $1,000. The student agreed and the two traveled in what was described as a dark colored SUV, Geis said.

When the two arrived at a residence hall, the man demanded $4,800.

"The student said he didn't have that much so he gave him all he had," Geis told News-Gazette reporter Mary Schenk. That was figure was believed to be $4,240.

A web site designed to book taxi rides, www.worldtaximeter.com, says that riders should expect to pay $289 for a cab from O'Hare to Champaign, a 150 mile trip.

The U of I International Student and Scholar Services' transportation web page offers students a number of ways to get from O'Hare to the campus, recommending various bus lines which charge about $30 for a one-way trip.

Ed note: Update is here.